Background: The head chef at Jenius Social, Andrew Clements, is an original graduate of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant, where he developed his passion for cooking. After leaving Jamie’s flagship he spent two years in Padstow honing his professional skills with Rick Stein. Andrew has also worked in Barcelona and is fluent in Spanish. He loves to drink aloe vera water and eat Stornaway black pudding.
First food memory
At home, watching my mum make spag bol when I was probably about 15 years old. I learnt how to brown the meat off before adding it to the sauce, and to reduce it –
low and slow.
First cookery skill
First day at college learning all the culinary cuts. I went home that night and memorised all of the French terminology, and no one’s asked me since.
Maldon sea salt – all day, every day. Lemon thyme adds a little bit of zing when roasting; Isle of Wight tomatoes, strawberries (best of British), and Cornish mackerel.
Recipes or improvise?
Both. Recipes ensure consistency and allow you to replicate dishes exactly, but I’d say in almost all other circumstances I improvise and experiment. A good criteria is: what’s in season/ fresh? What’s in your fridge? What does your tummy want?
Most underrated dish
Eggs Benedict. It takes skill to execute correctly and is very comforting yet not too filling. Bacon sandwich, needs no explanation.
Indispensable kitchen gadget/ utensil
Cling film. Low cost, 1001 uses including rolling butters, covering work surfaces, roulades, lining terrines; I’ve even used it as a make-shift belt on occasions.
Tell us a top cookery tip
Remember, you can always add, you can’t take away. Fresh is best.
Eat at home or eat out?
Both. Eating out keeps you up to date with food trends, what your cheffie mates are up to and is great for creative inspiration and no washing up. Cooking at home allows you play around more, put music on and involve friends and family.
What’s Britain’s best kept food secret
Urban allotments. Don’t let living in a city stop you from growing your own.
What are the key ingredients for a successful cookery class
Being well prepared and organised with everything weighed out. Make it fun, interesting and factual.
What do students enjoy most about learning to cook?
Seeing how uncomplicated food can actually be, and taking away skills that make cooking fun.
Find out more about cookery classes at Jenius Social Cookery School